Wurkkos HD20 Review ($40, LH325D, 5000k, USB-C PD, 21700, Headlamp)

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liquidretro
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Wurkkos HD20 Review ($40, LH325D, 5000k, USB-C PD, 21700, Headlamp)

Last year I did a review on the Wurkkos FC11, and that light has gone on to become one of the most often recommended lights over on /r/flashlight for good reason. Well today Wurkkos has the new HD20 headlamp. It has 2 emitters including high CRI with neutral white, a 21700 battery for long runtime and USB-C charging that supports PD, all for an affordable price. Thanks to Wurkkos for sending this to me to review.

Watch this review on YouTube:


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Packaging & Accessories
Packaging is a plain and simple orange box with just Wurkkos name on it, I suspect this is one they use with other models too as it’s just slightly too small for this light and there are no descriptors on it. Accessories include the light itself, a 4800mAh 21700 button top battery, elastic head strap, 18650 battery adapter, pocket clip, bag of extras including wrist strap, and 2 spare orings, USB-A to USB-C cable, and a manual.










Construction
The Wurkkos HD20 is made from aluminum, and anodized in a semigloss black. I found no issues with the machining on the light. The tail cap is flat and has a strong magnet that allows the light to safely attach on to any surface I have tried it on. There is a lanyard attachment point on the tail cap as well as some straight knurling. The spring inside is short but stiff.


Threads on the body section are square cut and dry. The body tube itself has ripples for grip and reminds me of a larger version of the Prometheus Beta series. There is a place for the clip to attach at both ends and this also where the straps for the head mount live.

The head itself is quite long and has a good amount going on, the side has a few areas milled out for design, weight reduction and heat dissipation, including a large milled area in the back that’s a bit unique, as is the knurling on the back side of the head. This does give a bit of grip to turn when mounted up. The USB-C port is covered by a large silicon cover that does fit the contour of the light well. On top is an Eswitch with translucent silicone cover and LED’s under to give an power level reading. It has a blue ring similar to Olight around the switch. This button does sit proud so it can’t headstand.




At the front you have the two emitters, The top being the spot, and the bottom being the flood. Both have aluminum bezels around them that look to be screwed in. The top has a TIR optic with glass over top and a flat front. The bottom uses a diffused lens. The light is IPX-68 rated

Size and Weight
Maximum length of this light is 122.5mm, maximum diameter at the head is 30mm, minimum diameter on the body is 26.7mm. Weight with the light, battery, and head strap is 202g. For comparison the Acebeam H30 (Also a 21700 light is) 190g. So it’s in the ballpark but a bit heavy.

Here are a few comparison pictures with the Acebeam H30.



Retention
The strap is made from a silicone material, it’s the loop type that holds the light in place and allows it to rotate up and down. Attached to this is a basic 3 way elastic band. It’s a less expensive headband which is ok for the price here but functional. I found it only moderately comfortable, the entire setup isn’t’ lightweight, so you need it reasonably tight to keep it in place. I found a bit more comfort if I tightened the top strap to let it carry a majority of the weight.

A pocket clip is an option on this light, but not one I think will be used very often. It can mount on the top of bottom of the battery tube, head down would be the only way I would attempt to carry it due to how much of the head sticks out if mounted the other way. You could use this to mount to a hat with the 2 way clip but I don’t think this will be used much due to the weight and the fact that it’s a right angle light. To me the pocket clip is pretty much useless but nice that it’s included I guess.

LED & Beam
This light uses 2 LED, for 2 different purposes. First you have the Floody beam of the Samsung LH351D in 5000k at 90CRI. This is the bottom emitter on the light and is rated at 700 lumens. The beam it creates is a smooth even flood, it’s everything its described as. Looking inside it looks like it has a TIR style optic with a diffused lens.

The other LED in use here is the Cree XPL HD for the spot emitter. It’s also in 5000k but only at 70 CRI. It’s the larger emitter on top of the light and has a TIR style optic that creates a spot style beam. The spot is reasonably large, with very little spill. Maximum output here is 1300 lumens.

When used together you get a blend of both worlds. The tints here for me matched well enough I couldn’t tell which emitter is which in just tint. The beam shape isn’t perfectly round which isn’t unexpected. If being used as a headlamp it’s a wider than it is tall.

There is PWM in all modes on this light other then moon and Turbo. Below is a sample of what my oscilloscope showed for both emitters on all modes, and then a sample of what each single emitter showed on medium. I don’t notice it with my eye.






Exact outputs vary with each emitter, the LH351D topping out with 700 lumens, and the XPL HD at 1300. Combined they make 2000 lumens. Here is the runtime chart showing the different outputs for each mode and emitter.

Heat and Runtime
I ran both emitters with the included 4800mAh battery on maximum brightness, and turbo output held peak output for 2 minutes before stepping down to 20% relative output where it cooled down and then began an oscillation with it’s aggressive active thermal controls of regulating the light between 18% relative output and 40%. This goes on for nearly 3 hours, before the last 30 minutes the spike is larger 15% to 70%. The last hour is a linear decrease to zero. Total runtime was right at 4 hours. Max heat was 42.5C at 2:50.

I then did runtimes with each emitter independently. Both were very linear non regulated input for the most part. The flood emitter which is less bright over all (700 lumens) lasted 10:10:00. The spot emitter lasted an impressive 14:31:00.

UI
The basics of this light work like you think, click to turn on, long press to cycle through it’s 3 normal modes. Double press to go to turbo. When off, long pressing turns on moonlight mode. The blinking modes require you first to go to turbo then double click again, double clicking each time to cycle then between strobe, sos, and beacon. A single click exits any of these. A triple click allows you to check battery status via the switch on top. 4 fast clicks enters and exits lockout.

Switching between the LED’s is describe in the manual as when the light is on just hold + click + hold. It sounds easy but in practice I have struggled with getting it right the first, second, or third time when I want to switch, it’s frustrating to say the least. There is an undocumented way to do this though that works, just triple press to switch when the light is on. This works well but the manual says nothing about it. That needs to change.

There has been some talk of minor firmware bugs with memory on BLF threads with this light, to me they have not been obvious enough to spot without reading about them first. It’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to update the firmware without telling anyone on the next production run. The FC11 got a revised firmware very quietly.

Recharging
The light has onboard USB-C charging on the back, and the most exciting part is it’s compatible with USB-C to C and USB-C PD. This is the first headlamp I have tested that’s this way, and it’s fantastic. It only took till late in 2020!

My recharging test was with the included 4800mAh 21700 battery, This is a standard battery I charged from LVP at 2.737v to Full at 4.123V in 3:21:29 which isn’t too bad for this large of cell. The light charged at 2.1A for the first 1:30:00.


The light can also be used as a powerbank on some phones. I didn’t log any data when trying this but I can tell you that my Samsung Note 8 charges fine with this light and a C to C cable, but my ipad doesn’t recognize it as a power source.

Pro’s

  • Great value, budget friendly, but good quality, full kit.
  • Neutral white with both emitters and high CRI with the flood, Now only if they would go high CRI with the entire light.
  • Supports USB-C to C charging with PD! First headlamp I have tested to do this.
  • It also acts as a powerbank for some phones.
  • Strong magnet that has no problem holding up the weight here

Con’s

  • Pretty heavy, not small
  • Nice that they included a pocket clip but for me it’s pretty much useless here.
  • Switching between LED’s seems to fail at least 50% of the time if your strictly using the manual method. Instead just triple press when the light is on.
  • The head strap could be higher quality.

Conclusion
I think Wurkkos has another hit on their hands with the HD20 if weight or size isn’t a big factor in your decision to buy a headlamp. This ticks a lot of my boxes for a headlamp, the biggest being a neutral white light with a pleasing tint, and at least one high CRI option. The long runtimes here are nice too, but you pay the penalty in size and weight from the 21700 and large head.

The biggest areas I see for improvement is a higher quality head strap that’s a little more comfortable. This isn’t a small headlamp so you notice the weight after a while. After I adjusted the straps to take more weight over my head it got a little better.

It’s so nice to see true USB-C support here, it charges via USB-C to C and USB-C PD. You don’t see a speed increase with PD but that’s ok. Not many flashlights at all price levels support this, and as a result it can even be used as a powerbank if needed.

At the time of filming this is right around the $40 price mark after the discount code (See the desciption of the Youtube video at the top of the page for that), thats a lot of value and I can recommend the Wurkkos HD20. Right now this is my pick for the best large headlamp to buy for Q4 2020.

Edited by: liquidretro on 11/16/2020 - 19:44
71k5
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WOW!
What a nice review!
Very informative.
Looks like a great product. Seems a little heavy for a head lamp, though.
Probably fine for helmet use, since the weight wouldn’t be as noticeable.
The price knocks it out of the park, as far as value is concerned.
Even though I don’t need one, the price is “needling” me to buy one.
Sometimes this addiction is uncontrollable.

liquidretro
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71k5 wrote:
WOW! What a nice review! Very informative. Looks like a great product. Seems a little heavy for a head lamp, though. Probably fine for helmet use, since the weight wouldn’t be as noticeable. The price knocks it out of the park, as far as value is concerned. Even though I don’t need one, the price is “needling” me to buy one. Sometimes this addiction is uncontrollable.

Ya it’s a great value. Putting it on the helmet was more for a photo, or there has to be some way to keep a strap on a helmet. If there is I don’t know what it is. Maybe it goes on underneath? I just have one for working in the ceiling at work and home projects.

71k5
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liquidretro wrote:
71k5 wrote:
WOW! What a nice review! Very informative. Looks like a great product. Seems a little heavy for a head lamp, though. Probably fine for helmet use, since the weight wouldn’t be as noticeable. The price knocks it out of the park, as far as value is concerned. Even though I don’t need one, the price is “needling” me to buy one. Sometimes this addiction is uncontrollable.

Ya it’s a great value. Putting it on the helmet was more for a photo, or there has to be some way to keep a strap on a helmet. If there is I don’t know what it is. Maybe it goes on underneath? I just have one for working in the ceiling at work and home projects.

Some caving helmets have plastic tabs to keep the strap from sliding up the helmet, like this one does: Climbing/Caving Helmet

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thanks for the nice review

Serlite
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Thanks for the thorough review!
This one’s on my list of lights to buy down the road, given its unique characteristics.
Hopefully they can work out any software glitches in an update – then I’d be a lot more keen to pick it up!

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The Wurkkos HD20 looks pretty good, though maybe a little too heavy for me, and it only maintains a lot of brightness for two minutes.

I think it's cheapest on AliExpress right now.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001565181379.html

 

Thanks for the review.  :THUMBS-UP:

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Yeah it’s an amazing light but just a bit too heavy for long term headlamp usage, and getting it in the headstrap is rather finnicky. Works fine as a headlamp for short periods though. Produces very nice, neutral light!

Funtastic
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Why on earth haven’t Sofirn sorted out their thermal regulation issue!? This behaves exactly the same as the Sofirn SP33 V3.

That’s an instant deal breaker for me, no customer wants to see their brightness jumping up and down.

Why was this not a con listed in the conclusion?

FIX IT

Texas Ace Lumen Tube calibrated with maukka lights

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liquidretro
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Funtastic wrote:
Why on earth haven’t Sofirn sorted out their thermal regulation issue!? This behaves exactly the same as the Sofirn SP33 V3.

That’s an instant deal breaker for me, no customer wants to see their brightness jumping up and down.

Why was this not a con listed in the conclusion?

FIX IT

It’s a change over several minutes, I didn’t really notice it when I was using the light out on a walk. If using it up close I don’t think you would be running it so bright to hit the intense thermal regulation. I agree it could be better.

Funtastic
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liquidretro wrote:
Funtastic wrote:
Why on earth haven’t Sofirn sorted out their thermal regulation issue!? This behaves exactly the same as the Sofirn SP33 V3.

That’s an instant deal breaker for me, no customer wants to see their brightness jumping up and down.

Why was this not a con listed in the conclusion?

FIX IT

It’s a change over several minutes, I didn’t really notice it when I was using the light out on a walk. If using it up close I don’t think you would be running it so bright to hit the intense thermal regulation. I agree it could be better.

Okay, so probably not as bad as it looks. I’m looking forward to Anduril 2 being used more or just more testing before release.

I have the new SP35 on its way for review so hopefully it’s better.

The SP33 V3 that someone reviewed said it was noticeable out walking so I immediately thought this to be the same.

Lumens are a lot less than advertised on this HD20. I wish Sofirn would get some maukka lights to get a better calibration. Their old models like the SP32 were almost spot on.

Turbo

Both – 1520
Spot – 1070
Flood – 565

Advertised

Both – 2000
Spot – 1300
Flood – 700

Texas Ace Lumen Tube calibrated with maukka lights

New Zealand store – https://www.piercingthedarkness.co.nz (NZ customers only)

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Funtastic wrote:
(...) I have the new SP35 on its way for review so hopefully it's better. (...)

Well, it should be according to the runtime chart Barry was so kind to send me.

I also pointed out that i.a.w. gchart's review of the SP33 V3 their new ATR (with thresholds of 45°C, 55°C and 65°C) deserves some closer investigation. I was told they have improved the new ATR to be less "jumpy". To be fair, many budget flashlights can step down but not as many can step up again (automatically) once the driver's temperature has reached a certain value. My assumption is that Wurkkos HD20's driver was in development when SP33 V3 was launched to the market, so neither Sofirn nor Wurkkos had enough feedback from flashoholics and enthusiasts to investigate this issue. There's always a certain delay between finding an issue and actually fixing it with a new generation of drivers.

Yesterday, I took a 2 hour walk using HD20 as a "neck-light", i.e. I wore it around my neck using the headband. It felt absolutely comfortable, not feeling any (over)weight of its big size. Maybe this could be an alternative way to some people who feel concerned about too much weight on the forehead? Just thinking...The floody beam in front of my feet was very useful to locate and evade piles of dog sh... or while following a narrow footpath through the woods. The spot in combination with the flood beam was bright enough to illuminate the next 50-75m in front of me. Indeed, I was impressed by the peak distance of the spot beam. The (previously unintended) triple click to cycle LED modes turned out to be really convenient.

 

 

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Funtastic wrote:
liquidretro wrote:
Funtastic wrote:
Why on earth haven't Sofirn sorted out their thermal regulation issue!? This behaves exactly the same as the Sofirn SP33 V3. That's an instant deal breaker for me, no customer wants to see their brightness jumping up and down. Why was this not a con listed in the conclusion? FIX IT
It's a change over several minutes, I didn't really notice it when I was using the light out on a walk. If using it up close I don't think you would be running it so bright to hit the intense thermal regulation. I agree it could be better.
Okay, so probably not as bad as it looks. I'm looking forward to Anduril 2 being used more or just more testing before release. I have the new SP35 on its way for review so hopefully it's better. The SP33 V3 that someone reviewed said it was noticeable out walking so I immediately thought this to be the same. Lumens are a lot less than advertised on this HD20. I wish Sofirn would get some maukka lights to get a better calibration. Their old models like the SP32 were almost spot on.

Turbo Both – 1520

Spot – 1070

Flood – 565

Advertised Both – 2000

Spot – 1300

Flood – 700

What cell were these readings done on, and I assume fully charged? Manufacturer says they used a 4000 mAh cell, so probably a 40T.

Funtastic
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Tom E wrote:
What cell were these readings done on, and I assume fully charged? Manufacturer says they used a 4000 mAh cell, so probably a 40T.

Yeah, I used a charged 40T. Sofirn’s ratings are always off, everyone else has tested the same for their lights.

There are exceptions like their SD05 is spec’d at 2550 and I got very close to this, it’s odd

Texas Ace Lumen Tube calibrated with maukka lights

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Lux-Perpetua wrote:

Funtastic wrote:
(…) I have the new SP35 on its way for review so hopefully it’s better. (…)

Well, it should be according to the runtime chart Barry was so kind to send me.



I also pointed out that i.a.w. gchart’s review of the SP33 V3 their new ATR (with thresholds of 45°C, 55°C and 65°C) deserves some closer investigation. I was told they have improved the new ATR to be less “jumpy”. To be fair, many budget flashlights can step down but not as many can step up again (automatically) once the driver’s temperature has reached a certain value. My assumption is that Wurkkos HD20’s driver was in development when SP33 V3 was launched to the market, so neither Sofirn nor Wurkkos had enough feedback from flashoholics and enthusiasts to investigate this issue. There’s always a certain delay between finding an issue and actually fixing it with a new generation of drivers.

Yes, but, why aren’t they doing the testing themselves or send prototypes out for feedback. Don’t release it and leave everyone with a problem.

When they test the runtime, surely they would catch this behavior on their equipment.

Texas Ace Lumen Tube calibrated with maukka lights

New Zealand store – https://www.piercingthedarkness.co.nz (NZ customers only)

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I'll give them 12% because that's about the difference between maukka cal #'s and previous, past manufacturer's numbers. But this looks more like 25% which means there's something wrong.

1300 lumens out of a XPL V6 is pushing high amps, which these kind of lights just can't do, typically. Notable exception are our BLF designs like the Q8 of course smile

I just got a HD20 to review, but rt. angle lights are an issue in my PVC light box thing, so I can probably use a reference source repositioned and calculate based on an adjustment. So far in some simple indoor testing, it looks pretty good overall. Sure it's big and triple clicks are somewhat awkward to switch, but it's nice having flood and some throw in one package.

Couple years ago I developed a dual LED version of Narsil for the Lumintop SD Mini II, which has side mounted aspheric flooder, but in the UI I made some sacrifices in function, but made the switching easier. I modded a FET+1 driver, so used the 0.35 amp 7135 for the side LED, and the FET for the main front LED. UI summary:

  • From OFF: click & hold (1H) always goes to the side LED starting at moon level
  • From OFF: click (1C) goes to main LED at last used level. If previous use was both LED's on, then both LED's come on at last used level
  • From side LED ON, dbl click (2C) turns on the main LED, keeping the side LED on
  • ramping works pretty much normal, but on the main LED it doesn't ramp that low (because of the FET), and flickers a little at the low ramping levels
  • if you have just the main LED on, there's no way to switch to, or turn on the side LED

The idea is to make use of the flooder at low level output - see where you are walking for example, but give full FET power to the main thrower, but also allow both to be at the same time for looking down a trail, and also seeing where you are walking. The 90 degree offset of the beams helped accomplishing that.

In Narsil, I had no support for 2H (Click & hold) though - that's a simple way to switch between LED's, and as recommended and intended for the HD20. 

 

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I just tested the HD20 I got yesterday from Amazon (Prime 2 days) on a freshly charged 40T and got as high as 6.6 amp tail readings. Amps crept up the more I compressed down on the spring, using a clamp meter with the tail off. The battery fits very tight, so good spring compression on both ends.

My maukka calibrated readings was about 1470 lumens at 30 secs on just the spot LED (XPL HD) both LED's!! Initially, the reading actually goes up a little, then didn't drop much at all. This is all indicative of the springs combined with a direct FET driver. I've seen this type of variation a few times before. It's also clearly in the ballpark for 6.6 amps, and the light got quite hot to hold in 30 seconds. So the amps readings, heat, and lumens reading all correspond.

Dunno, maybe I got a new version, or a buggy one, if everyone else got much lower readings.

My mistake - the bug caused turbo to come on on for both LED's, not just the spot!!

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Okay, I’ll have to give it another test. Are you certain it was only the spot led that activated?

Do you have a tube or sphere?

Texas Ace Lumen Tube calibrated with maukka lights

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As I said above, I have a PVC light box - guess you call it a tube? One of the original ones, before TA was around, before Dale got one. Because a rt. angle light doesn't fit, I took a somewhat similar light with about the same optic width, the SC31 Pro, and used it to calibrate the position and configuration. I held the light centered over the glass, but up a couple inches above the glass - normally the flashlight sits flush on the glass with dark gray foam blocking the rest of the opening. The conversion factor I came up with was adding 5.8%.  It's approximate for sure, but if you look at XPL HD LED tests, at 6.6 amps, by TA here, and djozz here, 1500 lumens is well under what they tested.

It could be my driver has an issue in that something that should be throttling back to the FET on turbo is not working, like a resistor that is short circuited.

I haven't seen any amp readings posted on the HD20, so that's the ultimate data to compare. Btw, it's not easy to do an amp reading unless you got a third hand helping. I was able to do it myself in my lap, and able to apply enough pressure to get the spring about fully compressed, maybe as much as when the tailcap is tightened down.

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After a bypass I get 6.8 amps and 1680 from both. I can’t wait for my clamp meter to arrive so I can compare. All I can say is I get the same reading on both units and it certainly doesn’t look like 1500 lumens from the xpl spot led. Who knows until more share their findings but ‘m certainly getting a lot less amps then you.

I’d like to think yours is working as it should.

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I'll sanity check everything again later today. I'm pretty sure it was only the XPL, but I'll check.

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Tom E wrote:

I’ll sanity check everything again later today. I’m pretty sure it was only the XPL, but I’ll check.

There’s a bug that activates both leds on turbo after switching off for 5+ seconds. Only happens with the spot led enabled

Texas Ace Lumen Tube calibrated with maukka lights

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Funtastic wrote:
There's a bug that activates both leds on turbo after switching off for 5+ seconds. Only happens with the spot led enabled

Correct. Among other things this glitch has been reported to Wurkkos already and is reflected in my updated UI chart that I posted in Wurkkos's original thread. For reference, I post this updated UI chart here as well. The revised parts are highlighted with red text on yellow background. The glitch you noticed is mentioned at the end of the chart.

 

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Ahh, ok - that was it. It dbl clicked to both on and I didn't even notice that it had. So, with both on, the #'s I'm getting match up well to about 1500 lumens, ~3.4 amps.

 

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I love this design